Tag: Carina Press

Review: Hold Her Again by Shannon Stacey

Posted October 23, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Hold Her Again by Shannon StaceyReviewer: Holly
Hold Her Again by Shannon Stacey
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: October 23, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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two-half-stars

A country-music star returns home to win back the woman he loves in this charming holiday novella from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey

Ava Wright isn't happy to see her high school sweetheart rolling into their hometown a few weeks before Christmas. He's only come back to bury his estranged father, but there's no way she'll be able to avoid him. No one can: he's become a country-music superstar since going solo and leaving Ava behind.

Jace Morrow grew up believing "money can't buy happiness" was something people said to make themselves feel better. But now he knows it's the truth: no matter how many number-one hits he has, he'll never recapture the magic of singing with Ava. Missing her—loving her—and living with making the wrong choice in life were what made him who he is.

When Jace is roped into being part of the town's annual Christmas party, he only cares about earning Ava's forgiveness. And though Ava's heart has never healed, she loved Jace too much and for too long to shut him out when he's hurting. As they fall in love all over again, they're both faced with choices for their future…and this time Jace intends to make the right one.

This book is approximately 30,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you're looking for with an HEA/HFN. It's a promise!

I’ve read and enjoyed most of Stacey’s backlist. When I saw the premise for this novella I was super excited. Music star + reunited lovers by Stacey = Total Win! Sadly, it didn’t work for me as much as I thought it would.

Jace and Ava fell in love in high school and ran off to St. Louis together as soon as they could to pursue a career in the music industry. When a popular manager approached them and told Jace she only wanted him, he chose to leave Ava behind and pursue his dream of fame and fortune. She returned home and went back to work waiting tables at the local diner. Six years later Jace is forced to come back to their hometown for his father’s funeral. He hasn’t stopped loving Ava and can’t wait to see her again. But six years is a long time, and Ava doesn’t think she can let go of her hurt and anger over the way Jace turned his back on her….on them.

My biggest issue was with the time of separate between Ava and Jace. He was gone way too long for me to accept his feelings for Ava were genuine. If he never stopped loving her and thought of her every day, why did it take him six years – and the excuse of his father’s funeral – to come back? I might have been able to accept his reasons if he stayed away a year, but six? I just couldn’t get past it. I spent most of the book feeling all rage-y inside.

Ava was a good heroine, and I liked the town and secondary characters. I even liked Jace. But I didn’t like him for Ava. It was easy for him to claim he’d love her forever and never leave her again now that he’d already achieved all his dreams. The length of the story didn’t provide sufficient time for me to forgive him for what he did. As always, Stacey’s writing was wonderful, but even a great heroine and lovely writing couldn’t save this story for me.

2.75 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Guest Review: Hold Her Again by Shannon Stacey

Posted September 29, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Hold Her Again by Shannon StaceyReviewer: Tracy
Hold Her Again by Shannon Stacey
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: October 1st 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Ava Wright isn't happy to see her high school sweetheart rolling into their hometown a few weeks before Christmas. He's only come back to bury his estranged father, but there's no way she'll be able to avoid him. No one can: he's become a country-music superstar since going solo and leaving Ava behind.

Jace Morrow grew up believing "money can't buy happiness" was something people said to make themselves feel better. But now he knows it's the truth: no matter how many number-one hits he has, he'll never recapture the magic of singing with Ava. Missing her—loving her—and living with making the wrong choice in life were what made him who he is.

When Jace is roped into being part of the town's annual Christmas party, he only cares about earning Ava's forgiveness. And though Ava's heart has never healed, she loved Jace too much and for too long to shut him out when he's hurting. As they fall in love all over again, they're both faced with choices for their future…and this time Jace intends to make the right one.

Jace Morrow and Ava Wright were once a couple in more ways than one.  They were in love and couple and they were also a country singing duo singing in bars to make a living.  Six years ago they were approached in one of those bars and Jace was offered stardom – but Ava wasn’t.  Jace decided he had to give it a try and left Ava. Just left her in a strange town on her own even though they were a duo. She went back to their small home town in Missouri with a broken heart and started waitressing again.

Now Jace is back in town for the first time in six years to bury his father and he knows that he’ll see Ava again.  In fact, he’s hoping he does because he wants to let her know that he never stopped loving her.  Ava isn’t looking forward to seeing Jace because she never forgave him for leaving her like he did.  Of course, when they do see each other again Ava has a hard time keeping the love she never stopped feeling for Jace under wraps.  He soon has her in his arms but can they move forward from what happened?

I’d love to say that I adored this novella by Stacey but I didn’t.  I did think it was good but that was because it had a lovely heroine and of course, Stacey’s wonderful writing style.  That said, I couldn’t get past Jace and what he did.  This is totally on me, and I’m probably in the minority here, but he really pissed me off.  He said that he never stopped loving her but he never came back to get his girl! Not only did he leave her high and dry to pursue his dreams, but then stayed away for 6 years! I guess I could see Ava forgiving him after 1 year but 6?  I had a really hard time with that.  For me, he didn’t grovel enough.  Actually, I’m not sure he could have groveled enough to make it ok in my eyes.

Ava was such a strong woman and I really liked her a lot.  She seemed to have a good head on her shoulders but had never stopped loving Jace.  Maybe if I had been shown some of their times together in the past, rather than just been told how close they were, I would have had a different perspective on their relationship.  As it was I just didn’t see it strong enough to withstand the time apart.

Despite my problems with Jace, as I said, it was a well written story.  If it had been longer maybe I would have changed my mind about the hero but with short a short format he just didn’t work for me.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Drawn to the Wolves by Shari Mikels

Posted May 22, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Drawn to the Wolves by Shari MikelsReviewer: Tracy
Drawn to the Wolves by Shari Mikels
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: May 22nd 2017
Pages: 105
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three-stars

The pack's alpha has finally found his fated mate…and she's terrified of wolves.

Wolf shifter Callan Mohan has a powerful connection to his pack. As alpha, he can sense if something is wrong—and when he feels panic coming from an unknown source, his instincts tell him she's someone to be protected at all costs.

Rescuing a stranger from an unexpected confrontation with two wolf shifters is easy. Helping her move from fear to acceptance of the animals—and him—is a challenge.

Kate Ballard's attraction to her mysterious rescuer is instant. That she falls for Callan so quickly isn't surprising—his strong, confident presence puts her at ease, and the strange connection she has to him makes her feel safe almost immediately. He's the man she didn't know she was waiting for.

It's only a matter of time before Callan has to tell Kate the truth. And find out, once and for all, if her love for him is enough to overcome her fear.

Kate Ballard has worked for the Atlanta PD for the past 10 years.  She has empathic abilities and after 10 years of drawing human monsters she just couldn’t do it any longer.  She’s now taking a much needed rest and she’s in Whiskey Grove, Tennessee on the advice of her best friend.  She plans on relaxing and sketching wildlife to her hearts content.

The first afternoon she’s out sketching, however, she runs into trouble.  She was told to stay of a certain plot of land but after chasing an eagle she finds herself facing the barrel of a gun.  The man wants to shoot her and she’s terrified of the humongous wolves the man has at his sides.

Kate is rescued by Callan.  He calms the gun holder enough to get Kate out of there.  From the first moment that he sees Kate, and feels her in his head, he knows that she’s his mate.  The problem is that Kate has an unbelievable fear of wolves and telling her that he’s a shifter might just make her run from him instead of to him.

This was a sweet little novella.  I liked Kate and Callan both and though they were good for each other.  Their relationship started off pretty quickly but since he knew that she was his fated mate he didn’t waste any time.  Before you know it she’s practically living with him which was fast but again, fated mates.

I found myself entrenched in the book when Kate was being held at gunpoint and was excited to go from there.  Unfortunately I didn’t care for the way Kate handled her fear and the shifter issue.  The way the author wrote her I got the feeling that she would have handled it differently but she ran.  I was happy to read that that part of it wasn’t drawn out too long and Kate and Callan got their HEA.

If you’re looking for a quick, easy paranormal story to read this would be a good one.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Pretty Face by Lucy Parker

Posted February 21, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Pretty Face by Lucy ParkerReviewer: Rowena
Pretty Face by Lucy Parker
Series: London Celebrities #2
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: February 20th 2017
Pages: 264
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four-stars

Highly acclaimed, award-winning author of Act Like It Lucy Parker returns readers to the London stage with laugh-out-loud wit and plenty of drama

The play's the fling

It's not actress Lily Lamprey's fault that she's all curves and has the kind of voice that can fog up a camera lens. She wants to prove where her real talents lie—and that's not on a casting couch, thank you. When she hears esteemed director Luc Savage is renovating a legendary West End theater for a lofty new production, she knows it could be her chance—if only Luc wasn't so dictatorial, so bad-tempered and so incredibly sexy.

Luc Savage has respect, integrity and experience. He also has it bad for Lily. He'd be willing to dismiss it as a midlife crisis, but this exasperating, irresistible woman is actually a very talented actress. Unfortunately, their romance is not only raising questions about Lily's suddenly rising career, it's threatening Luc's professional reputation. The course of true love never did run smooth. But if they're not careful, it could bring down the curtain on both their careers…

This book is approximately 96,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you're looking for with an HEA/HFN. It's a promise! Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise

Pretty Face is the second book in Lucy Parker’s London Celebrities series and it was another winner in my book. I adored Luc. I loved Lily and I really, really loved their romance.

Lily Lamprey’s soap opera career is coming to an end and she’s looking forward to moving on from the homewrecking role she’s been playing for far too long. She’s young and she’s got the rest of her life and career ahead of her but not a lot of people think she’s got what it takes to really make a go of it in the theater world.

Luc Savage is renovating an old West End theater and he’s producing the first play that will debut in the new space and at first glance, Lily is not what he’s looking for in any role on the play. Her voice is all wrong for the theater and not even threats of investors pulling their funding is going to stop him from doing what he wants but that all changes when he meets with Lily and gives her a legit shot. Not only can he see her bringing life to one of the key characters in the play, but he can also seeing her being a star in the theater world.

There’s a huge age difference between the hero and heroine in this one. The hero is 40 and the heroine is 26 but that didn’t matter to me. The romance between the two of them worked well and that’s a credit to Parker’s writing style. There was so much going on and so many road blocks in between the two of these guys that something as small as the age difference just didn’t matter. I liked getting to know Lily and Luc on their own but I adored the two of them together.

They both had lives apart from each other but they were pretty drawn to each other and I liked that. Holly and I were talking just last week about how we’ve been noticing that romance novels these days have the hero and the heroine in each other’s pockets for the entire book. There doesn’t seem to be a lot going on in their lives apart from each other and we miss the couples of old, who had friends and family that were a part of their lives and their stories but that wasn’t the case here. Luc had his family and stuff going on with them whereas Lily had her best friend and family and her own stuff going on with them.

All in all, this was another fabulous read by Lucy Parker and she’s cemented her name on my radar and I will definitely be reading more from her. This was an entertaining novel about two completely different people who came together and made sense. Their love grew with passing page and I was completely on board with their feelings, their passion and their story. It’s a definite recommended read from me.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Seconds to Sunrise by Nico Rosso

Posted January 16, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Seconds to Sunrise by Nico RossoReviewer: Jen
Seconds to Sunrise by Nico Rosso
Series: Black Ops: Automatik #3
Also in this series: Seconds to Sunrise
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: January 16th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Readers of Maya Banks’s KGI series will love the adrenaline-fueled, pulse-pounding suspense of Nico Rosso's SECONDS TO SUNRISE
She thought she’d lost everything…

April Banks thought her website crashing was just a glitch. Starting the online forum for war widows has been the only thing keeping her together since her husband died, and she won’t let anything interfere with her work. But this is no technical malfunction—cyberterrorists have targeted the information locked in April’s website and they’ll do anything to get it. Even if that means removing April. Permanently.

He’ll make them pay…

Automatik gave former SAS agent James Sant a way to protect the innocent again. He thinks life in the shadows is all he deserves…until he meets his newest assignment. April is everything James has never let himself want and he knows she’s already had too much heartbreak in her life to risk feeling for him. But keeping things professional while hunting the hackers with the gorgeous widow is going to be the hardest job he’s ever taken on.

This book is approximately 75,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise! Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise

This is the third book in Nico Rosso’s Black Ops: Automatik series, and this time we meet Automatik operator James Sant, who is called in to help widow April Banks. April runs a website for war widows, and it’s given her a purpose and helped her move on after her own husband died in combat. The site was hacked and brought down, though, and personal data of site visitors was stolen. (Why? Personally I was never clear on why the hackers were trying to accomplish. The premise seemed a little flimsy.) James and April have to physically track down the hackers so they can protect the site users and put a stop to whoever is behind the attack.

This book is a bit of fun and fast paced action. I always love a good road trip, and we get one here. James and April have to chase clues through multiple states to track down the hackers, which leads to some great get-to-know-you time. James is an interesting character because he’s not always been with the “good guys”. He has some major guilt and you can see why he’d be so dedicated to spending the rest of his life making up for past choices, as it were. I enjoyed seeing him work to move beyond his past and acknowledge the good he has done since. I also loved the short scene with his dad. I wish we had gotten to spend more time with him, because seeing James with his family really drove home the point that he WAS a decent guy who just made some questionable choices.

I often feel like Rosso’s books are great for the action but not as great at touching your heartstrings, and Seconds to Sunrise was no exception. I expected more emotion from April’s story in particular, as she lost a husband she loved to war. Instead, I felt like the story just assumed it was obvious that such a loss was really painful, instead of helping us see April’s pain. There was also a little depth missing from James and April’s relationship. The right pieces are all there, but the dialogue and inner thoughts just don’t quite express that deeper emotional connection that I personally enjoy in romances. It’s not that I didn’t like them as a couple or enjoy reading their story, but I certainly didn’t end the book with a sweet sigh and won’t be fondly remembering their relationship. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just something you want to know going in.

If you like action packed romances with racially/ethnically diverse characters and some hot sex, check this one out.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

three-half-stars


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